Friday, April 1, 2016

Laws Regulating Fashion Models: Protection or Intrusion?

While I was climbing away on the elliptical this morning at the gym, my eye was caught by a news story flashing by on the television screen of a fellow exerciser. Marc Levine, a California state assemblyman, has proposed a law that would require fashion models to obtain a certificate from a doctor before they can work in the state. Modeled after a new law in France designed to reduce the pressure on fashion models to lose weight or face unemployment, the legislation would require doctors to certify that models are a healthy weight and are not suffering from anorexia or any other eating disorder. Modeling agencies would be required to be licensed, and would be penalized if they were caught employing models without the proper medical certification.

A neighbor of mine worked as a model as a teenager, and has a boatload of stories about the pressures adults in the industry put on young girls, pressures that can far too often slip into abuse. I was also reminded of Marie Force's romance novel, True North, which features a model who is disillusioned with the industry. Would such a law have made the careers of my real life neighbor, and Force's fictional heroine, less dangerous to pursue?

Or is such legislation just another example of men intrusively regulating women's bodies? Are there other possible solutions that might be proposed to protect women in the modeling industry?

Do you know of any other romance novels with models as protagonists that touch upon these issues?


  1. My biggest issues with these laws, is that healthy is ill defined. Otherwise, we have or are developing laws revolving sports injuries, etc, it just seems appropriate.

    Another romance example (not that it does a great job) is Christine Feehan's Drake sisters series, Hannah's book.

  2. It needs regulation, doesn't it? As is, models suffer and regular women too as they try to reach an impossible body image that's bombarded by the media and fashion industry to promote products and services as solutions to the personal dissatisfaction they themselves create. Decades ago models were 8% thinner than regular women. Today the percentage is at least 20%.